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Forerunner Triticale

Forerunner Triticale:

Forerunner Triticale a versatile new option for  the Dairy, Beef, Equine, Sheep producers and  commercial hay growers.

Forerunner is an awnless variety was bred by a leading Triticale breeder, Robert Metzger of Oregon State University.

To achieve the awnless characteristic a triticale line was back-crossed with durum wheat. Its characteristics lean more towards wheat than cereal rye. This is a winter/spring variety due to the awnless characteristic Forerunner can be safely produced into cereal hay which the traditional beaded Triticale varieties cannot be.

The Forererunner seed crop below was grown by Introvigne Bros between Boyup Brook and Bridgetown.The average annual rainfall is 750 to 800 mm of rain per year.

In 2010 the area only received 300 mm with a late start and below average rainfall in the August to October period.

In this 40 ha paddock the crop harvested 3.4 t/ha of grain and 2.5 t/ha of baled straw that had an ME of 6.7. The total Forerunner seed crop of 130 ha averaged 2.55 t/ha. The firebreak was cut for hay and had an ME of 9.5.


The Forerunner crop above was grown in Manjimup by Paul Omodei where the field day group are standing averaged 7.75 t/ha of baled hay to the Ha. With an ME of 9.3. The 95 year average for growing season rainfall in the Manjimup region is 807 mm. For 2010 it was only 418








The NZ partner of Massif Alliance is Simpson family who have been friends of the Ladyman and Field families of WA for 45 years. Bill Simpson had a close relationship with the seed growers and plant breeders in Oregon State USA.

This allowed them to bring new lines into New Zealand where they has been growing and selling Forerunner for 10 years. With the dramatic increase in Dairying in NZ the Simpsons now grow Forerunner under irrigation and sell it off in the paddock to dairy farmers who cut and process it for feed. In 2009 they had green chop for silage producing 17.5 T DM/ha.


The background information is an introduction to a new versatile triticale that is now commercially available as either forage or feed product. Seed is now available for growers to do an assessment on how it will fit into their farming system.

This not a line that comes direct from a breeder and still needs it’s potential as a commercial crop sorted out.


It has been grown in America for 20 years and still rates as one of their better lines and grown in New Zealand for 14 years.  In both instances it is the dairy industries that have been the major users. Last years seed royalty payments indicate there 22,000 tones of seed was still sold in the USA and 600 in NZ.


To this end we have compared against the criteria for export hay and it is at the top end in quality standards. Because this is a late maturing variety. hay production is in the Oct\Nov period.

Forerunner performed well against the traditional oaten hay and was not effected by leaf rust and water-logging. The comparative tests we have made are based on the normal period when silage production would take place, then hay production and grain.



“Don’t grow it in the front paddock along the road” Quote; by the late Gary Haythornwaite.

When the Forerunner Triticale started to grow on the Haythornwaite’s farm in South Quairading. They wondered what they had purchased, as it did not grown like any cereal they had experience with. They were that worried it was going to be a failure they didn’t put on the second application of nitrogen fertilizer.

Then it took off and grew to be 1.5 metres (5 foot) tall and cut 7 tonne of hay per ha.

The crop was seeded at 70 kg/ha on the 2nd of June and only had 250 mm (10 inches) of rain up until it was cut for hay at the end of October.

Other than the original chemical spray no fungicide was required as the crop the crop did not show any evidence of leaf or stem rust.

The spring rains that ruined so much hay in the wheatbelt of western Australia was a benefit to this crop and kept it green for so long the Haythornwaite’s were ready to start harvest and the baling contractor was putting his machinery away in the shed. 2 days after it was cut the windrows were turned and 2 days later it was baled in perfect warm weather

The baling contractor found this crop easy to roll into round bales. These baled were rolled 6 months ago and there is no evidence of mould. Their sheep seemed to have a real liking for this triticale hay as they eat everything.


This could be because this Haythornwaite’s Forerunner Triticale hay, had a higher than normal Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC) or sugars. It appears the stock also have a sweet tooth and this hay was form of cows candy or sheep’s sugar-coat.

With an ME (metabolised energy) of 8.5 this hay will make a major contribution to sustaining their stock over the dry autumn period. 


The year was close to drought with only 115 mm of rain in the growing season. Forerunner was sown one half of a paddock and wheat in the other half. Both crop had the same fertilizer and chemical applications. Because of the growing condition the nearby Cobra wheat only had a yield of 0.6 tones to the hectare. The Forerunner Triticale cut 3.75 tones of hay to the hectare. At $320 per ton for the wheat and $120 per tonne for the 9.1 ME(metabolised energy)  hay. The gross returns where wheat $192 Forerunner $450,




With the development of new cereal varieties like Forerunner the emphasis is on established Broad Ha farming properties. For every farmer in this category there are 6 to 8 farmers with small rural holdings where the area of land and the capital is limiting. On these properties, to get the highest production per/ha is paramount. 
One of those who grew Forerunner was Dave Holman of Donnybrook and here is his experience for both 2011 and 2012.
2011 Experience
The paddock was ploughed with discs. The Forerunner was sown on May 13th after 146 mm of rain. It was broadcast out @ 150 Kg/ha with Summit Dairy TE @ 150 Kg/ha it was then just harrowed over with pasture harrows and not rolled. It was sprayed approx 6 weeks later with Jaguar to control weeds.

It was fed off to approx 50 mm once only. There was no further fertilizer applied and it was cut for hay on Nov 1st.Total rainfall till then was 987 mm. It was good to grow it next to the Vasse oats. The oats took off a lot earlier but as you can see by the photos the Forerunner quickly passed it. I will grow it again this year and hopefully feed it off at least twice. This may prevent it growing to 2 mts

2012 Experience:

This year the crop was planted on the 12th of May after quite a good opening rain with the same application as last year. There was a problem with radish so it was sprayed with no effect on the crop
In late June to mid July the crop was grazed for 23 days at 114 DSE to the Hectare. It was grazed again at the same stocking rate for 10 days. Because it was not known how it would affect the hay yields it was only grazed down to 50 CM. The crop still grew to over 1.5 meters tall and had a hay yield of 11 ton to the Hectare.
With summer rains the crop has re-grown and has another 10 days of grazing.

This crop is great one for farmers with small rural holdings. Providing it is looked after while it is establishing it gives an over all return per ha than other crops.

If you would like to Purchase Forerunner Triticale or discuss this further please contact us.

State Wide

Rodney Field                    0428 899 010   Email;

Southern Region;

Murray Field                       0429 632 157 Email:

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